AF 350 Royal Blue Pilot Truck--How Do You Keep It On the Track?

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  • Member since
    February 2010
  • 69 posts
AF 350 Royal Blue Pilot Truck--How Do You Keep It On the Track?
Posted by MickeyDemian on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 10:01 PM

I am trying to run an AF 350 Royal Blue that I just received and it seems the pilot truck is very light and bounces off the track frequently.  I am new to the AF line and was wondering if the veterans out there had any tricks or modifications they used to address this problem?  Thanks for any help.

  • Member since
    August 2021
  • 110 posts
Posted by Swiss-Colorado-Lines on Thursday, November 25, 2021 1:11 PM

Hi Mickey,

I would not say that I am an American Flyer expert, but I have 6 steamers, and I've done extensive work on some of them.Usually, there is a spring pushing down on the lead truck.On most of mine, the spring has disappeared, and they still track reliably. On my 312, there was a mounting tang cast onto the front of the cylinder casting that was bent, I had to replace the cylinder casting, and now it's fine.

I suspect you will have to dissemble the engine and look closely at how the lead truck mounts, looking for anything bent, or out of the ordinary...

That's about all I have, hope it helps...


  • Member since
    March 2010
  • 245 posts
Posted by rrlineman on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 7:28 AM

Almost all 350's should have a spring for the pilot truck. In repairing trains over the years I have found the spring removed, wire solder wrapped around the truck rivet, and even pieces of tire weights glued inside the sheet metal truck frame. All in a attempt to keep the pilot on the track.. usually I have found that the spring has collapsed somtime in the past due to overheating from a derailment short. You can do 2 things. Change out the spring for a new repro or stiffer spring ( like a lionel 671 pilot spring). there is also a Co called LBR enterprises in Kentucky that makes milled bar stock pilot trucks for Flyer engines, But they are about 15 bucks compared to about a buck for a new spring. And of course the most obvious thing is to check the track and also make sure the truck frame is square and even.

  • Member since
    February 2010
  • 69 posts
Posted by MickeyDemian on Friday, December 3, 2021 8:07 AM

Thank you for the ideas for repair.  Appreciate it.

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